But Mochizuki’s papers, which totalled more than 500 pages, were exceedingly abstract and cryptic even by the standards of pure mathematics. That has made it tough for others to read the proof, let alone verify it. Moreover, the papers built on an equally massive body of work that he had accumulated over the years, but that few were familiar with.
I love this. It reminds me of the history of the works of James Hutton, the British geologist that was one of the first to truly understand how long it took natural forces to shape the earth.
Encouraged by his friends to expand his theory, in the touching hope that he might somehow stumble onto clarity in a more expansive format, Hutton spent the next ten years preparing his magnum opus, which was published in two volumes in 1795. Together the two books ran to nearly a thousand pages and were, remarkably, worse than even his most pessimistic friends had feared. Apart from anything else, nearly half the completed work now consisted of quotations from French sources, still in the original French4. A third volume was so unenticing that it wasn’t published until 18995, more than a century after Hutton’s death, and the fourth and concluding volume was never published at all. Hutton’s Theory of the Earth is a strong candidate for the least read important book in science (or at least, it would be if there weren’t so many others). Even Charles Lyell, the greatest geologist of the following century and a man who read everything, admitted he couldn’t get through it.
What I like about this, is that it reminds us that besides the plains facts, there are many other ‘soft’ forces at play that influence how information is transmitted and received. Sometimes cultural barriers and mere human psychology can be all that is preventing insight and acceptance of new knowledge to occur.
I often think on this when I think about the vast Chinese internet ecosystem. Separate and isolated in many ways from the western internet, yet vast and full of people that likely have many interesting things to say.
What additional power of collaboration are we missing out on through the language and culture barriers.
And back to science and technology. How much potential development is being wasted and ignored, because of an inability to clearly communicate ideas.
Below is my response to the last episode of the metatalks podcast, hosted by my friends Alachia en Jeppy.
You should listed to the episode first if you want to understand the context of my comment below.
What Alachia didn’t mention in podcast but knows is that I in fact maintain 3 blogs now that deal with the different aspects of me. The last one being very important that it not intermingle with my other identity, whereas the first 2 I have no issue with them kinda cross-connecting in some ways. So my first 2 blogs, the tech blog (thefluffyadmin.net), and the me/geek blog (jemimus.net), are designed with the potential audience in mind, so that “audience”, doesn’t have to be bored to tears with the other part. Its a basic secmentation of my 2 major interest spheres.
The third blog is rather more secret and disconnected in every way I can think of, and also is built around a completely fictional identity. And that blog is not really for an audience (though in the beginning I thought it could be), but more as a sounding board for my own thoughts on that particular side of me. Its far more personal than my “me/geek” blog at jemimus.net could ever be. Which I feel is a little unfortunate, because there is a middle ground that I would like to cover between those 2 blogs that I can’t currently.
For example, my parents will read jemimus.net because its connected to Twitter, and Twitter appears in their MSN. But I don’t really want to go into my darker emotional states on there, because of those 2 people, along with some others like potential collegues. While I am sure most of my other friends really wouldn’t mind at all if I shared some more of the emotional stuff there. Feeling the need to express myself there in that way, I have even considered disconnecting my parents MSN from my Twitter feed, or otherwise not connecting my blog posts to Twitter. Sure its still all public, and they can just google my site if they wanted to, but I know most of them wouldn’t, its just on the margins of their internet periphery.
Maybe a 4th blog is in order? lol. I go back to what Alachia and I discussed on Wowcast once, where I mentioned that what you really want is 1 single identity platform, so you can far more closely control who gets to see what exactly. Some posts visible only to annonymous, others other visible to “Friends list 1”, where that list would consist of verifiable identities coming from either a locally registered account, or remote identity silo’s like Facebook, Google and Twitter. This can be done right now, but I have yet to see the right implementation of this in, say, a WordPress plugin.
And they wont let me. Retarded, backward, outdated international copyright law is stopping me from actually legally BUYING digital content.
Translation: Your request could not be completed. The item you requested is currently not available in the Itunes store in [?], but is available in the store of [?]. Click on “change store” to see this item.
Translation: Your account is only valid for purchases in the Dutch Itunes store. Click OK to go to that store. – And thank you Apple. for even giving me the option to stay on this page, let alone buy something here.
How DARE they accuse US, the digiratii, of PIRACY when they themselves cannot get their collective heads out of their asses and ACCOMODATE ME?!
Dan Gillmor – A recent Gallup poll on support of Darwinism amung Americans.
My opinion is sure to upset some people, but what are blogs for if not to express mine.
I find it strange how a country that used to be so culturally progressive, seems to have gotten “stuck” in this Christian conservatism. While rest of the (western) world seems to be slowly waking up from the religious daydream, it seems almost like the American heartland is reverting back to a 50’s mindset.
Now I have nothing against religion perse, by when a country is run top down by christian conservatists, then everyone starts to be affected. Where other, more progressive countries (and even some states) are finally recognizing the rights of woman and homosexuals, amungs other things, America seems, at least to me as a European, to be reverting back to a more primitive way of thinking about, and dealing with real world issues, usually based on, in my mind, a backward religious doctrine.